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As you may know, there are two popular ways to access email – through webmail (such as the webmail service that comes with every website hosting and email hosting package we provide at O’Brien Media) and with email clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird or Windows Mail.

Webmail is generally an easier way to get started as there’s nothing to install on your PC, Mac or Smartphone and you don’t need to and learn to use any additional software; you just open your email account with a web browser and off you go!

First things first, which is better – webmail or an email client?

It’s not easy to say which is better for accessing email accounts. Why? Because it’s like comparing apples with oranges. It all depends on how you want to use the email account. For instance, if you are a frequently away from your computer but still want to access your email on a PC or Mac, webmail is a better option. It’s all about what fits your needs and how you feel comfortable.

By the way, you can access the same email account with both webmail and an email program which might be the best solution for some people.

Webmail advantages

Anyway, here are some advantages of webmail that I came up with.

  • Ease of access: Webmail allows you to use the same interface on different computers and devices, even a PC in a library or at a friend or colleagues home or office as you don’t need to install anything on the computer to benefit from a full-screen, desktop style, experience (sorry smartphones!).
  • No additional software needed: Checking your email account through a webmail interface requires only the web browser program. Also, most webmail interfaces would look practically the same in different browsers which makes it easy for beginners to access email from another computer.
  • Gentler learning curve: In my opinion (and I say this with experience), it’s easier to learn to use email through a webmail interface than a dedicated email client.
  • Customisation options: With the launch of themes (such as those supported in O’Brien Media webmail) webmail interfaces are highly customisable and definitely better lookling than most email clients.
  • No need to own a computer: Since webmail accounts can be used from any computer, you don’t need to own a machine yourself. This is such a boon for citizens of underdeveloped countries who can take the advantage of the new communications technology without buying expensive equipment.
  • Updates and addition of new features: Webmail interface and features can be modified and tested faster than those in email programs. If you’ve ever used a Gmail account, you probably know of the new features that are being added continually to your account. Also, all these modifications and additions require little or no input from your side. Thus, there is often no need to download an upgrade and then install it!
  • Storage space: People who use email programs may argue that the constrain of storage space for messages and attachments is a disadvantage of webmail. This is no longer true as, in the case of O’Brien Media Webmail you can add as much storage for messages and file attachments as you need at very little cost.
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